November 19, 2018 Press Release

BREAKING:  Embattled Refugee Chief Scott Lloyd Leaving Office of Refugee Resettlement, Raising More Questions & Need for Oversight

Azar Reassigns Lloyd to Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the Department of Health and Human Services

11.19.2018 – Moments ago, The Daily Caller first reported that Refugee Director Scott Lloyd will be leaving his post at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for a position at the Department of Health Human Services’ Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.

“When someone exhibits this type of gross negligence in their job, they’re typically fired, not given a soft landing.” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.

“Equity Forward has long called for HHS Secretary Azar to fire Lloyd and it’s shameful that Lloyd will still have a position at HHS.  Lloyd’s reassignment is not the end. Azar still has to answer for his and Lloyd’s conduct that allowed cruelty and incompetence to rule the day at HHS. It’s time for Congress to investigate the full extent of the damage Lloyd inflicted on ORR and the populations it serves.”

For a year and a half under the leadership of Scott Lloyd, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) lurched from one manufactured crisis to another, triggering numerous lawsuits, denying young women in his care access to abortions, and implementing housing for the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on family separation.  Equity Forward has long called for Secretary Azar to fire Lloyd, recently putting together a list of the top times Azar should have fired Lloyd, but didn’t.  Lloyd will now be working for Shannon Royce, whose entire career has been with groups that hold negative views of reproductive health, including Title X, science-based family planning, and birth control.

Background on Scott Lloyd

Former ORR Director Scott Lloyd is a veteran anti-abortion activist with no meaningful experience dealing with refugees or other vulnerable populations. A recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office detailed how HHS and ORR were woefully unprepared to handle the more than 2,600 children ripped from their families at the border this summer. Politico recently reported  “Lloyd made decisions that complicated reunifications.” Indeed, a federal judge said that the federal government could be responsible for “permanently orphaning” children in their care.

During his tenure at ORR, Lloyd has become infamous not for his work supporting refugees, but for violating the civil rights of children in his care. As soon as Lloyd took the helm of ORR, he became the final sign off for any young woman in ORR custody seeking an abortion. But he didn’t just review a summary of each young woman’s case. He stood in the way of them accessing care when he personally visited the women, intervened to refer them to anti-abortion centers so they would be counseled against the procedure, and went so far as to demand a weekly spreadsheet that tracked the status of each young woman’ pregnancy.

These actions have been repeatedly blocked by the courts. Despite his lack of experience and controversial track record, he additionally required that he have final sign off for the release of certain children from ORR facilities, indefinitely stranding them in detention— a decision that triggered another lawsuit on behalf of children who have been indeterminately delayed from reuniting with family.